A protracted job search can sabotage your self-worth and make you doubt your professional abilities. When unemployment starts to get you down, simple routine shifts can help you stay motivated and productive.
Step Away From the Computer
When you're unemployed, it can be tempting to spend every waking hour browsing through online job boards. If you frequently spend more than eight hours per day staring at a screen, stay motivated by creating a healthier schedule. Limit your job-hunting activities to business hours. During the rest of the day, do things that you're excited about: exercise, spend time with family or pursue new activities. A balanced approach prevents burnout and enables you to return to the search feeling refreshed.
Change Negative Thought Patterns
A slew of rejections can give you a negative, pessimistic outlook. Stay motivated by actively cultivating a positive mindset. At the end of each day, look back on your accomplishments and take a moment of self-recognition. When something encouraging happens, pause to revel in the feeling. Most importantly, actively replace negative thoughts with positive alternatives. If you find yourself thinking, "I'm never going to find a job," stop what you're doing and say, "A great job is worth waiting for."
Find a Cheerleader
If you're questioning your abilities, find a close friend or family member to be your cheerleader. Ask that person to help you stay motivated by sending positive email reminders, texting to check in or forcing you to attend networking events. The person might remind you of past accomplishments or encourage you to maintain professional skills while you're out of work. This external motivation can snap you out of a funk and make it easier to push on.
Try Something New
Part of the struggle of a job search is its monotony. If the prospect of submitting another resume fills you with dread, it's time to try something new. Choose any event that puts you in contact with other professionals, such as local small business association meetings, a friend's office happy hour or a nonprofit's weekend cleanup day. If you live near a college or university, go to their next career fair. Look for local organizations such as young professionals' groups and business development centers, and attend informational sessions or seminars. Exposing yourself to other professionals opens you up to potentially fruitful opportunities, and the change of pace can help you stay motivated.
Establish a Morning Routine
The things you do in the morning set a pattern for the rest of the day. Set yourself up for success by creating a productive morning routine. Make a to-do list, and schedule out your first two hours. Then, grab a cup of coffee and power through your designated tasks. This process creates a daily sense of accomplishment — an essential component of motivation.
Although a long job hunt is not an ideal challenge, it's one that you can overcome with patience and persistence. By embracing a positive, proactive approach, you can stay motivated and maintain your sanity.
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